A gene involved in B-cell development might play a role in multiple sclerosis. The results of a large study published today in the open access journal BMC Neurology reveal that multiple sclerosis (MS) patients are more likely to carry two specific genetic variations in the Early B-cell factor gene (EBF-1), than healthy individuals.
These variations – or polymorphisms - could play a causative role in MS or be located near other polymorphisms that do play a causative role in the disorder. As such, they could be used as genetic markers for MS.
Alfonso Martinez and colleagues from the Hospital Clinico San Carlos, in Madrid, Spain, who carried out the research, suggest that EBF-1 might be involved in MS due to its role in axonal damage. "Axonal damage is a hallmark for multiple sclerosis," write the authors, and EBF is involved in the expression of proteins essential for axonal pathfinding. How axonal damage occurs in MS, however, is not well understood.
Juliette Savin | EurekAlert!
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